Sometimes

Posted: February 20, 2013 in Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah
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Sometimes I wonder why I am here instead of there.

Sometimes I want to get on my bike and pedal all day.

Sometimes I feel very cranky and can’t figure out how to stop it.

Sometimes I wonder why people care so much about the race and so little about each other.

Sometimes people treat me like I’m a complete idiot.

Sometimes people give me more credit than I deserve.

Sometimes I watch the Brady Bunch because I like seeing what a normal family is like.

Sometimes I’m obsessed with leaving a lasting legacy behind.

Sometimes I judge people by what they say.

Sometimes I judge people by what they do.

Sometimes I’m disappointed by people who ought to know better.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night scared to death.

Sometimes I wish I could do more for certain people.

Sometimes I wish I was never born.

Sometimes I wish I could live forever.

Sometimes I’m not a good listener.

Sometimes I say way too much.

Sometimes I can’t figure out how to get from point A to point B.

Sometimes I forget things that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Sometimes I remember things that should not be remembered.

Sometimes I wonder how my little space will be filled after I’m gone.

Sometimes music makes my insides move in crazy directions.

Sometimes when I tug at the hairs of my goatee everything moves a bit slower.

Sometimes I panic when the phone rings.

Sometimes I’m stuck. Just plain stuck.

Sometimes I think I’d better serve the world as a vigilante.

Sometimes my impatience with others makes me appear arrogant.

Sometimes I hate myself for having weaknesses.

Sometimes I obsess over not having the correct answers.

Sometimes others don’t understand my motives.

Sometimes I don’t understand theirs either.

Sometimes I stutter.

Sometimes I’m charming.

Sometimes you’ll think I’m being serious.

Sometimes you’ll assume I’m joking.

Sometimes I hate me.

Sometimes you’ll hate me.

Sometimes you won’t.

Sometimes I’ll care.

Sometimes I won’t.

Sometimes nothing matters.

Sometimes it all does.

Sometimes I’ll type words on the screen and wonder where they came from.

Sometimes I clench my teeth.

Sometimes I think it’s unfair that only twenty-five years ago I was 25 and twenty-five years from now I’ll be 75 and hardly remember the 25-year-old.

Sometimes I have a thought that is longer than the rest of them.

Sometimes I wonder how Barney was ever more popular than Sesame Street.

Sometimes this world sucks.

Sometimes it’s wonderful.

Sometimes what starts out as a good idea can get kind of boring.

Sometimes I need to stop.

Sometimes I don’t.

Sometimes I do.

A few random thoughts today:

I hate when I’m finished with my shower and then realize that I forgot to bring a towel into the bathroom with me. Sometimes I’ll just grab the clothes that I’ve just taken off and use them.

It snowed a bit here in the Northeast over the weekend.

My favorite station on Pandora for when I’m working from home is Acoustic New Age. Check it out sometime. I’m still looking for an app that tells Pandora that I’m still listening though.

When I die, I don’t want to be displayed in a freaking casket with people touching me (I hate being touched) and looking at my double chin and how my goatee doesn’t fill in as nicely as George Clooney’s did in some movie I saw him in. Just sprinkle me somewhere and slap my nameplate on a bench along the bike trail.

I have a NY Giants football card collection with cards dating back to 1948. There are at least nine albums up there in the closet. Kids don’t collect cards like they once did. I remember riding my bike down to Midi Mart or Frank’s Stationary with a pocket of change and then sniffing the fresh cardboard and stale gum. Ah, the scent of a… football card.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere.” Martin Luther King, Jr. That’s my favorite quote.

If your kid is looking for a great African American figure to talk about in class during Black History Month, try the turn of the century cyclist, Marshall “Major” Taylor. He’s a world champion who most people have never heard about.

Hold on a second please. Where’s that bottle of water? I need a sip – just a sip. I didn’t think five minutes of typing would make me that thirsty.

Remember what Peter Parker’s uncle told him. And remember that if Peter hadn’t let that bad guy go, poor Uncle Ben would still be alive today.

At 49, I still feel like I’m a work in progress. Is that bad?

I can’t stand how impatient some of those investors on Shark Tank get. Sometimes Mark Cuban will say, “I’m a basketball guy so I’m giving you 24 seconds to make up your mind.” Holy cow! It takes me longer than that to punch in my four numbers at the ATM to get twenty bucks, let alone decide my entire future.

A brand new friend of mine emailed a wonderful poem to me last week. It’s called, Please Hear What I Am Not Saying. It’s about the masks we sometimes wear and the words we sometimes speak and how we are often just begging to be heard – to be seen – to be helped.

I’ve been writing a weekly column dedicated to issues surrounding youth sports for about a year and a half. There are a growing number of parents who are unhappy with how some of their community’s programs are being run. Most parents are worried about the repercussions that their child might ultimately suffer if they become one of those parents and express their concerns.

A Sporting Dad’s View covers many of these important topics. Take a click over and check it out. I’d love to hear what you are doing in your town to address some of these issues. And what would you think of a forum where an outside group would come in and meet with an organization’s board members, coaches, and parents with the mission of creating an environment where every child can thrive?

Yes Pandora, I’m STILL listening. Where’s that bottle of water? I need another swig.

Thirty Years Ago

Posted: February 8, 2013 in Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

I became a father for the first time on this day in 1983.

It was a little more than seven months after walking across the stage and being handed my high school diploma. Except the padded maroon holder we all received was empty. We were a day short of the state requirements and would have to return for one more day if we wanted to fill it with a document.

I know of one classmate   from that group with a son who is slightly older than mine. There could be others but I’m thinking I’m top five in that category.

And damn if I didn’t grow up in a hurry. I went from stocking shelves at Washington Discount to cleaning a paint factory in Avon.

I went from playing hockey on Pine Lake and Atari football to inhaling toxic fumes and working with some of the biggest drug users I’d ever been around.

One fond memory is of using my parent’s house for a New Year’s Eve Party. I found one coworker searching my parent’s bedroom for a razor blade. He was so high he barely understood my pleas for him to go back down to the party. He was the last to leave. I tried to fight him for his keys. He got away. He was stopped in front of the Police Department on the way home and couldn’t drive for a year. Back at work, I took the blame. They had fed him his drug, and I was vilified.

Another party took place at a coworker’s home. It was a get together to watch a boxing match. We all had that passion in common. The house was kind of bare. I noticed a nice family portrait on the wall. Two young kids and the mom and dad. An hour later the portrait was missing. I saw it later in the next room as dad and others were snorting lines of cocaine off it with a rolled up dollar bill. I said, “No thanks.” If my heart is going to explode I’d rather have my family point to a Big Mac as the culprit.

I’d gone all through high school without using drugs. I was the outcast among my friends because of it. I stayed off to the side. A lot of them are pretty screwed up now. I hated a lot of them. Some were bullies. Some were phonies. Some kids from high school who I never even talked to are among my favorite people now.

Maybe some don’t remember that they were jerks back then. I bet a lot of them do and have put it behind them. That’s cool. I found a person who was relentless as far as bullying me. I doubt that he’s forgotten.

I’d love to hear an apology. I know, I know – it was a long time ago but we teach our kids about bullying at a very young age. They know it’s wrong. And yes, I’ve moved on. But some things are not meant to be forgotten. They have all contributed to who we are today.

My goal as a father has always been to spend as much time as possible with my children. They were my safe house.

And that’s how it was with my very first born. My favorite memories with him were running around the baseball field in Orleans, MA and kicking a ball back and forth. We’ve done a thousand things together but for some reason I’m transported to my happy place with that one. And then we’d walk to the playground afterwards and chase each other around.

He was the first to meet the Daddy Monster. That was me with a blanket over my head. I’d be on my knees crawling towards him repeating,” I’m the Daddy Monster and I’m going to get you.” The second child in line will remember that as well.

Kissy-kissy time was great too. I’d pin him on his back and kiss his face until he was so tired from laughing and asking me to stop that he’d take a nice long nap.

My first child. My oldest son. It’s his 30th birthday today. I hope he learned a bit about being a man from me. I hope he remembers when he was the kid that could make me feel normal by sitting on my lap and watching Thundercats.

There might be two feet of snow between us today but I hope he knows he’s on my mind. Not only today but every single one of them since I first held him.

You do a lot of weird things when you are preoccupied with your troubles. I’ve become rather forgetful.

Earlier, I’d written another fine youth sports column, got ready to send it in, then remembered that they had cut their freelancer’s budget and weren’t paying me anymore.

Then I started making an egg omelet for lunch. I fried up the onions and mushrooms. I put the cheese on the egg. Then I folded it in half. Perfect again – except I’d forgotten to add the onions and mushrooms beforehand. Very difficult to pry folded eggs and melted cheese open.

So, I ate. And let the dog outside. I went upstairs and got dressed for a meeting. It wasn’t until I was a bit up the street and saw the damn dog flying out from behind the house that I realized I’d forgotten something. Yes, my phone. I forgot to grab my phone. Good thing we have the dog.

If Sting is the King of Pain, I’m the King Scatter Brain. Seriously. I think I had six kids at one point in my life. I’m not saying that I lost one – there were always so many of them around and having been involved with so many women – I don’t know.

Maybe I shouldn’t have even mentioned anything. We always had six bikes in the shed though. And then one morning there were five. I never did get a good answer regarding its whereabouts.

But I’ve always been forgetful when it came to names. Especially kid’s names. When I coached them, I basically remembered them by whether they were respectful or not. Every kid was buddy or dude or hey you.

“Nice hit Buddy. Make sure you run through first base next time.”

“Dude, if you want to pick your freaking nose you can go behind the dugout and do it.”

“Yo – hey you – #7, I want you moving on every pitch Buddy. Got it? What? Yeah I know your name. But this is baseball. You want a name? You’re Mickey Freaking Mantle, #7. How’s that for a name?”

At least in football you have an excuse because you can’t see their darling little faces. But you can cheat. The kids have their names written on tape across the front of their helmets – at least until the season starts. As long as they were close enough for me to read, I was OK.

“Big kid, run over here so you can hear me. Yeah… Timmy – next time catch the ball with your hands and not your shoulder pad. And write your name bigger.”

When it came to the parents, there wasn’t a freaking chance in Hell of me knowing a name or which kid they belonged to.

They’d approach me, “Hey Coach, so what can I do to help my Tristan overcome his problem?”

How is it fair that they can call me Coach? Shouldn’t I be able to reply with, “Well Parent, Tristan stinks. He’s freaking eight years old. I’ll play him as much as any other kid and either he’ll get better someday or he’ll always stink. At that point he can either use his spare time to master the flute or try lacrosse or fishing.”

Wow, look at ME. Seems like I slipped a little of my youth sports philosophy in there. The great thing about an unsponsored blog is you get to say freaking this and freaking that and nobody can say a word.

So I’ll keep… what the heck was I just talking about?

Well, I have an announcement to make and I don’t care what the rest of the civilized world thinks. I’m rejoining the board of the Farmington Valley MudHogs Youth Football and Cheerleading League. Yup – it came to me in a dream. I’m going to focus on the 5-7 year-olds who are playing flag football.

How in the heck does anyone coach a team in that age group and let Johnny run the ball five times a game while Joey does nothing but block? I’ll be fixing that.

So, before I forget, I’m heading outside to pull the snow blower out and get it ready for the snow. It’s storm Charlotte. My dad was married to an unbelievable woman of the same name. THAT name, I will never forget. She left us way too soon.

Remember to keep track of your kids this weekend. Stupid, avoidable accidents happen during weather events like this way too often.

Be smart. Remember to use common sense.

The Cycling Club

Posted: October 4, 2012 in Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

10.05.12

Don’t be concerned with your level of fitness at this point. The group will always support the slowest rider. Usually the larger group breaks up into smaller ones, with everything coming together at predetermined points in the route.

10.04.12

So this is where we can talk about the formation of a cycling group or club. We can meet in different areas of the state weekly with the person from that particular area being the day’s guide.

More to come.
Check back often.

First I will share with you this
and don’t think me demented.
But tumors stole half my ankle
and now it’s been cemented.

So just as with my ankle
which stabs at me when I stroll.
This story is quite painful
and pain is tough to control.

But pain has rarely stopped me
from pedaling on my bike.
It’s what I’ve always liked
and less painful than a hike.

I’m sure you’ve guessed already
my ankle’s quite the pain.
But now I need to crank
if only to race hot rain.

So where am I going now
with clouds so mean and black?
The bottom of Sir Willis –
where I’m planning an attack.

My rhyming is quite basic
in its meter and the beat.
But if you want to follow
you will have to grab my seat.

Forgive me here at the start
as I’m sure you’ll hear me swear.
So, if such words offend you
I have made you full aware.

The fucking hill is wicked steep
and you pedal or you drop.
You have to start all over
if you fall off or you stop.

If a car may run you flat
and into the curb for fun.
Turn around and go back down
because that attempt is done.

It’s a mile and a half
from the bottom to the top.
And miles aren’t far on bikes
unless they’re steep and you can’t stop.

The thing about Sir Willis
as one begins to attack.
It’s got an ugly temper
and the bitch will pull you back.

It’s a grade of high percent.
Like something stupid crazy!
Forget it if you dislike pain
and forget it if you’re lazy.

I’m enough past ideal weight
that I know it will be tougher.
My thighs are fairly solid
but my gut will make me suffer.

So I kick and I approach
and click right down the gearing.
I’m pulling the bars so hard
I’m scared that I’m not steering.

I sit and grind three slow strokes
then stand up and shift once more.
I’m spitting gasps of jagged breaths
while tires grab the hard paved floor.

I will not spoil the outcome
so let it play out in your mind.
Endings are often twisted fate
and fate can be cruelly unkind.

My ankle did not crumble
and my heart stayed in my chest.
These questions would’ve stayed muddled
if I had not taken the test.

Okay – to Hell with modest
and the secret of fail or pass.
I stomped on my pedals like grapes
and tore up Sir Willis’s ass.

They appear to be boyfriend and girlfriend. They are probably Seniors in high school or just beginning college.

She has an athletic build- strong legs and upper body- perhaps 5’5″ and about 120 lbs. She never smiles- so serious.

He is rather large- like an offensive lineman- maybe 280 lbs and at least 6’2″. He is always plugged-in to his iPod.

They never speak.

She does not workout.

They are there for him.

At the end of a set, she changes the weights on one side while he attends to the opposite end.

They rarely make eye contact.

She is solid though and exhibits perfect technique when he cheats on an exersize. She is a teacher. He is a quiet student and watches the demonstations like a puppy would watch his trainer.

His squats are subpar. He knows it.

She shows him once.

He nods. He tries to imitate.

She nods in the opposite direction and perfectly executes another for him.

He lowers his butt as she has shown him- it is still not right.

Her butt is more pronounced in the way it backs up and stops parallel to the floor. Her back does not arch. Her eyes lock in on her own eyes that stare back from the mirror.

He tries again and is perfect to the untrained eye.

Her eye is trained though.

She demonstrates the movement again hoping that he sees something that he had not seen before.

He is finally perfect.

No kiss. No high-five. Not even a smile. The weights need to be changed.

The routine lasts for an hour.

She loads and unloads her side of the bar and he takes care of the other.

He moves ahead to the next station as she wraps up the previous one.

You are probably wondering whether they are dating or perhaps siblings or even trainer and trainee. I wonder as well.

A couple of nights a week I am lucky enough to witness this strange dance, among the weights and benches, on the floor of the gym.

The routine is an unspoken one.

Posted: June 26, 2012 in Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah